I was not eligible for the lowest interest rate they offer. I would have to pay about one and something percent more. That may not sound like much, but it builds up quite a bit. I was starting to build up my courage to protest when my mother asked: why weren't we getting the five-and-something percent loan that the salesman out front was talking about? Well, they ran my credit, and it's not quite good enough for them. The finance guy seemed surprised that I hadn't seen my credit report as Toyota Financing saw it. The news was ... actually, not horrible, but worse than I expected based on the previous experience.
According to ... oh, I think it was Equifax, my credit score was about 660, which is adequate for most purposes but not great. They looked at another report and according to Trans Union I rate at 717, but the Rules say that you get the lowest interest rate only with a 719 and there was no disputing that. They wouldn't really get so fussy over a mere two points, would they?
I looked over the reports, and my parents did too, and as you might expect they were full of errors. Notably, they had what looked like two big accounts of my parents' on mine. Since I share a name and mailing address with my father this is not incomprehensible, really, but you would think credit rating agencies would be used to dealing with this sort of ambiguity. More, the one really important credit blunder I've made was reflected on these scores. Late last year I was having trouble arranging bill payment online for my bank, and it resulted in that bank cancelling a credit card when in their eyes I was delinquent, although I was sending Feedback Reports to them that I kept arranging bill pay and submitting and nothing happened. (I've paid off, and they're sullenly content, and I have to keep Firefox 2 around to do any banking with them that transfers money around.)
As you might expect, Trans Union which rated me as a 717 had --- I suppose correctly from the bank's point of view --- that this was a 60-day overdue account when it was closed. Equifax, which had me fifty points lower, thought it was just a single 30-day delinquency. And both had some accounts none of us recognized. We wanted to take copies of these reports so I could squabble with the agencies about this and learn that nothing could be done to correct them, but the finance guy said that they couldn't leave the office. We could, however, copy down the reports' information and dispute them at our leisure. Also, though, it wouldn't change things.
Unless, as my father suggested, one of my parents were to co-sign, as then their presumably superior credit would be the one presented to Toyota Finances as the true credit score. My father was the first and most confusing parent to check; his credit, though, topped out below 700 somehow. My mother's was still good, though, and we reran with the lower interest rate and a couple nervous jokes about how my mother takes charge of the car now if I miss a payment.
My parents also noted part of the problem is my slender credit history: my only previous outstanding loan is my student loan, and I only have one active credit card and one credit card in my past. If I had more credit cards, or more loans in general, even the finance guy agreed I'd be in better shape, so that ironically this car loan ought to get my best score above 720 by simple virtue of its existence. Heisenberg applies to more than just quantum mechanics.
Trivia: After the Challenger accident NASA's review determined there were 748 shuttle items designated Criticality 1, items without redundant backup which if they failed would likely result in loss of life or the orbiter or both. After re-evaluation the number of such items nearly doubled. Source: The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA, Diane Vaughan.
Currently Reading: All On Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery, Henry Mayer.
(By the way, folks who need videotape: I happened to be at Radio Shack, in an incident which will become another journal entry, and they were selling five-packs for $2.17. This is either an inventory code error or a sign that they're finally giving up on videotape as a concept. In any case, those who need it are advised.)